FAQ: Appraisals of Objects

The Smithsonian Institution does not, as a matter of policy, offer monetary evaluations. However, we have compiled the following information that we trust will be helpful. This information is not intended to be comprehensive and does not constitute an endorsement by the Smithsonian Institution.

Identifying your Object

Local sources of information or personnel to help you identify your object(s) are:

  • university or area libraries
  • state and local historical societies or museums
  • state extension services

Determining Value

Antiques, artworks, and other collectible items have such an individual nature that fixed values are difficult to establish. Prices asked and amounts offered are determined by personal interests of both seller and purchaser and by trends in the market.

You can ascertain the current range of prices for items exchanged at sales and auctions by consulting the price guides available in bookstores or public libraries. Also, dealers actively engaged in buying and selling antiques, professional appraisers attached to sales galleries, and official appraisers of local probate courts usually can give prevailing price values. Information on providers of these services can be found in collectors' magazines, in the yellow pages of telephone directories, or in other sources available from the reference librarian in your area library. While the organizations named below do not provide appraisals, each publishes a directory of its member appraisers and offers a computerized referral service:

American Society of Appraisers
P.O. Box 17265
Washington, DC 20041
703/478-2228; 800/272-8258

International Society of Appraisers
Riverview Plaza Office Park
International Society of Appraisers
1131 SW 7th Street, Suite 105
Renton, WA 98005
206/241-0359; Fax: 206/241-0436

Appraisers Association of America
386 Park Avenue South, Suite 2000
New York, NY 10016


Last updated: October 2018


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